Caregiving During The Holidays
December 5, 2019
For many, the holiday season is a time of joy and lightheartedness, a time to spend with family and celebrate cherished traditions. But for those caring for a loved one, the holidays can be a time of added stress and frustration. Whether you are caring for an aging parent, a spouse, or even a child, here are a few tips to make the holiday season less trying and more enjoyable.
The Holiday Blues
Caregiving comes with significant responsibilities and is often a full time job. During the holidays, when decorations must be set up, extra cooking needs to be done, and gifts need to be purchased, the added workload can be overwhelming. It is common for caregivers to compare themselves to other friends or family members, and feel that their holiday simply is not measuring up. Scenes from advertisements and the media, along with memories of “perfect” past holidays can lead caregivers to feel that their efforts to celebrate the holidays are not good enough.
Tensions among family members can also be high during this time. Caregivers may feel frustrated with family members who they feel are not pulling their weight in caregiving responsibilities. All of these added stresses can pile up and cause caregivers to dread the holiday season, rather than appreciate it. So what can caregivers do in order to enjoy this special time of year?
Simplify Holiday Activities
If celebrating the holidays full force just seems like too much for you, take steps to simplify your holiday preparations. Perhaps choose a few of your most meaningful decorations to put out. Streamline the cooking by splitting up grocery shopping and cooking among family members, take shortcuts like buying desserts and breads from the bakery, or eat out at a restaurant instead. Prioritize holiday activities that hold the deepest meaning for you and your family. Set realistic expectations for yourself and focus on the important things: creating good memories and sharing precious time with your loved ones.
Don’t Forget Self Care
At a time when caregivers give unceasingly, don’t forget to give yourself time and care. Remember that we cannot help others unless we first take care of our own mental, emotional, and physical health. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, go outside for a walk if you can, and try to take 10 minutes a day for quiet alone time. Whether you enjoy dancing, yoga, or any other activity, take the time to do what makes you feel good. When you feel your best, you’ll certainly be better equipped to care for your loved ones.
Ask For Help
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Asking family members or friends to help with tasks around the house can be a huge relief. You may also search for community resources, such as adult day care, respite care, or home health aides. Joining a support group for caregivers can be immensely beneficial, so that you can express emotions to others who can empathize with your experiences. If an in-person support group is not an option, you can try connecting through End With Care’s online forum.
With these tips in mind, you can cherish your moments with your loved ones and make new holiday memories that you can treasure forever.